Vista Ultimate Hard Disk Drive Error

By Babtanian
Mar 6, 2008
  1. I recently purchased a Dell XPS 720 with Windows Vista Ultimate. The system has 4GB RAM and an Intel Core 2 Extreme processor. I've been very unsuccessfully attempting to troubleshoot a critical error with the Dell XPS support team. At random times, the system freezes, crashes and restarts itself. Upon re-boot, Windows indicates that the system has recovered from an unexpected error. Clicking on "find a resolution", Windows says it was caused by a "Hard Disk Drive Error" I have included a screenshot of the detals below.

    I have tried several things ranging from system restores, basic hard drive diagnostics, 32-Bit hard drive diagnostic in the Dell startup menu, removing startup programs, Dell support center diagnostic system scans, Windows system health scan & reports, etc. All tests have indicated that the hard drive is operating well with no errors. My event log shows every instance of the bluescreen event, but offers no specific details - just that the shutdown was unexpected. I have refreshed my imaging file recently and have not had sufficient time to monitor the results.

    It was my intention to attach my MiniDump files to this post, but Windows indicates that I do not have permission to do so and to request rights from an administrator. I am the computer administrator and sole user of the machine. If anyone can shed some light on how I can get around that, I will post the files. It has become obvious that Dell will be no help to me. I appreciate any and all assistance I can acquire in discovering a resolution to this problem. Thank you!

    Attached Files:

  2. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    Please post the MiniDump (as shown in the pic)
  3. Babtanian

    Babtanian TS Rookie Topic Starter

    MiniDump Files

    Even as the sole user and administrator of the PC, Vista will not allow me to open or attach the MiniDump files. It indicates that "access is denied". The same is the case with the .xml files associated with the problem.
  4. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    Full Backup (maybe even in Safe Mode)
    Re-Install of Windows Vista Ultimate
  5. Babtanian

    Babtanian TS Rookie Topic Starter

    OS Re-Installation

    That's what the Dell XPS support personnel are talking about having me do. Either that, or a full image restore. I was trying to avoid it due to the fact that I have a significant time investment in setting the computer up with software, documents, graphics, etc.

    Has re-installing the OS traditionally helped with problems like this, or is it a "crap shoot"?
  6. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    When the user gets to the point that they cannot do anything with the system

    Usually including not being able to get into Safe mode.

    Yes this means that the Windows (or Restore) disc may be required.

    In some cases, there are other tools (cd boot utilities - and even hardware and cmos settings adjustments) but Vista, being so dam Huge. You are better off, having a fast clean install.

    This will also prove the HardWare is ok (or not!)
  7. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,261   +92

  8. Babtanian

    Babtanian TS Rookie Topic Starter

    MimiDump Files

    Thank you everyone for the assistance. Under the security tab of each file, my user account wasn't even displayed. I added it, gave myself full control and I now have access to the MiniDump files. They exceed the 100kb upload limit for this site, so I placed them in a .zip folder which I have attached to this post.

    Regretfully, it looks like I might have to go ahead with the OS re-installation. Dell's saying it, now you guys are saying it. Guess I just wanted a second optinion! My OS is perfectly operational otherwise and certainly useable. At random times approx. every 3 to 5 days, the unexpected shutdown occurs that references the hard disk drive error. Of course, it's usually right in the middle of a project (o:

    Since I'm very much under warranty for this machine, I'll hold off on the OS re-install until I get Dell's blessing. If anyone sees something interesting in the miniDump files, I'd love to know about it. I create websites and am pretty familiar with HTML & CSS, but these files look like gibbberish to me (o: I can't make heads or tails what they mean.

  9. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    Inside the 5 MiniDumps:

  10. Babtanian

    Babtanian TS Rookie Topic Starter

    That was quick Kimsland - thanks!

    I guess the question now is, are these causes readily rectified with re-installation of the OS, or is there a simpler, better way? I understand what "memory Corruption" could mean, but I am not familiar with the first 3 errors - what they are - what program or task they are asociated with - or what to do about it.

    In reference to the memory issue, I was looking at several threads about this specific crash on this site yesterday before posting and found one that talked about the memory paging file. I refreshed the paging file as it instructed last night. I haven't had any time to see the effect, but this is what I did...

    Set the initial and maximum to "0".
    Restarted the computer.
    Ran a Defrag immediately following re-boot.
    Set the initial and maximum to 1.5 X my amount of RAM.
    Restarted the computer.

    The value that was 1.5 X my current RAM (4GB) was identical to the paging file size recommended by Windows. Windows was managing the file prior to this change and was only allocating just over 3,000 Kb despite their own indicated recommendation.

    Was this a good move?
  11. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 5,261   +92

    I would NOT reinstall your OS. Nine times out of ten that you call a tech support line such as Dell's, they will recognize that you are likely having a software conflict and rather than resolve it they just take the easy way out and have you format your machine, and reinstall Windows. It's either because of extremely laziness or a simple lack of knowledge that they do this.

    The fact of the matter is, if your RAM is bad or you're having an issue with a conflicting driver, you'll probably see the same issues after the reinstallation because your RAM will still be bad, and you'll probably reinstall the same drivers!

    I am more than lousy with reading minidump files honestly. That said, it seems to be the general consensus on this forum that a lot of the driver related issues that present themselves in the ways you've been experiencing are caused by drivers which try to access RAM that they shouldn't be. You should start by ensuring your RAM's integrity by running a test such as Kimsland suggested. From there, if there are no errors, I am sure others will be much more able to deduce a conclusion based on your findings.

    Your pagefile should be fine as it is, you could probably even get away with it being a bit smaller if you've got a significant amount of RAM.
  12. tommy2k8

    tommy2k8 TS Rookie Posts: 70


    My client has got a Vista computer that is 3 months old; it kept getting Bue Screen of Death, flashed the BIOS and updated Windows, none worked. Then I downloaded the Windows Debugging Tools to read a minidump which I couldn't do because I didn't have the right permissions, so I set them, and it still didn't work.
    I haven't got the right symbols to read the minidump? Can someone read it for me?
  13. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524
    You can download the most up to date symbols from the link at the end of that page.

    tommy2k8 in future please create your own thread
    And instead of posting the results from your MiniDump (Mini062508-01.dmp) that are not complete (referring to wireless driver issue), you are best to post the actual MiniDump (unless of course you just download the symbols)
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